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an image of metal recycled from different products

Common Uses for Recyclable Metals

Not all metals are recycled as widely as others, but there are a certain amount that almost every metal recycling facility will accept. For these metals, you might be interested where you can find them and what life they might take on after they have been recycled.

Craddock Metal Recycling Limited use our industry experience to talk about the different uses for commonly recycled metals in our latest blog post below.


an image of a sheet of zinc

Zinc sheet

Zinc is an extremely versatile metal, but not the easiest to recycle as it often needs to be separated from other metals and materials such as steel (which is coated in zinc for a process called galvanisation). Common uses for zinc include:

– Galvanisation. This is the process of protecting another metal, such as steel or iron, with zinc to prevent corrosion and is the most common use for the metal.

– Zinc oxide is used in a whole host of applications that includes everything from plastics, to paints and foods, to batteries.

– Many alloys, such as brass and nickel silver, contain zinc.


an image of a tin can

Tin can

As one of the most valuable non-ferrous metals available, the recycling of tin is lucrative. Here’s what tin is commonly used for, before and after recycling:

– Cans. Many cans are created by covering steel sheet with a thin layer of tin, creating ‘tinplate’. This thin layer of tin is on the inside and helps fight against corrosion and keep the food fresh.

– Glass. A lot of window glass is made by floating molten on molten tin to make a flat surface. Tin salts are also used here, being sprayed onto glass for electrically conductive coatings.

– Alloys such as soft solder, pewter and bronze are made using tin.


Lead is one of the most effectively recycled metals with more lead produced from recycling than mining. This is helped by the fact that is can be recycled indefinitely without losing any of its material quality. Here is what we use lead for:

– Batteries. Lead-acid batteries are one of the main uses for lead, and also one of the most widely recycled consumer products.

– Lead is also used to protect from radiation in circumstances, such as when taking x-rays at hospitals.


an image of copper wire

Copper wire

Copper is the most widely used ‘valuable’ metal and also the best conductor after silver, which makes it an important part of metal recycling. A large amount of the quality of copper is retained through recycling, which makes it good business. Here’s where you might find copper used:

– Piping and plumbing. Copper is most commonly used for piping and plumbing materials.

– Household items. A lot of copper is used in household items that include everything from basic kitchen utensils to electronic items like mobile phones and computers.


an image of aluminium foil

Aluminium foil

A material with great recycling potential, aluminium is widely recycled and widely used. This is compounded by the fact that much of the aluminium mined remains in use today. Aluminium is used for the following:

– Packaging. Aluminium is commonly found in various types of packaging as it is flexible, non-toxic and resistant to corrosion.

– Vehicles. Many vehicles make use of aluminium because it is strong and light, as well as easy to mould and form.

Shedding Light on Metal Recycling

There are so many different metals that it can be tough to keep track of whether you can recycle them, whether they are widely accepted, or even where you might find them in your home etc. Hopefully, this guide shed some light on all of the above and has made it easier to understand what recyclable metals are used for.

Craddock Metal Recycling Limited

If you are looking to recycle your metal, whether that is an appliance, a scrap car, or anything else, contact Craddock Metal Recycling Limited today. Call us on 01527 66866 or fill out our simple contact form and we will be able to help.